Monday, February 21, 2011

Effects of climate change in Lebanon to grow more severe

Sin-ming Shaw in the Daily Star (Lebanon): Lebanon must brace for more heavy rains and storms, coupled with long periods of drought and water shortages as the affects of global warming continue to take their toll, a Canadian climate expert has warned. Professor John Pomeroy, the Canada research chair in water resources and climate change at Saskatchewan University, believes that the recent extreme weather could be more than just a “blip” and may well be the knock-on effects of climate change making themselves apparent decades ahead of existing forecasts.

“The intensity of rainfall is getting greater but the time between rainfalls is also getting greater,” Pomeroy, who completed a lecturing tour of the Middle East last week, told The Daily Star. “This means that ironically we will have more rain but also more droughts. “It is terrible news for water management in Lebanon. Water, when it comes, comes too fast and causes erosion and floods,” he added.

Visiting at the request of the Water and Energy Ministry and the American University of Technology, Pomeroy has dedicated his career to studying the effects of climate change on snow and rain patterns. “The difficulty for Lebanon is that with climate warming the snowpack is much less likely to persist and could almost entirely disappear. That means that Lebanon will have to manage its water resources completely differently,” he said.

Existing climate models predict temperatures in Lebanon rising between 4 to 5°Celsius within the century. Such an increase will almost certainly cause snowfall in mountainous areas to turn to heavy rainfall. “This is happening faster than we predicted. We expected to see this kind of weather by mid-century, but it is happening now,” Pomeroy said….

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